HMGA2 expression analysis in cytological and paraffin-embedded tissue specimens of thyroid tumors by relative quantitative RT-PCR

Long Jin, Ricardo V. Lloyd, Aziza Nassar, Paul J. Lappinga, Thomas J. Sebo, Kathy Swartz, Amber R. Seys, Michele R. Erickson-Johnson, Christopher W. Roth, Barbara R. Evers, Andre M. Oliveira, Jun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The distinction between benign and malignant thyroid tumors in some cytological and histological specimens remains challenging. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of High Mobility Group A2 (HMGA2) mRNA expression to distinguish benign from malignant thyroid tumors in cytological and histological specimens. RNA samples from 170 thyroid formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues and 226 fine needle aspiration (FNA) specimens were analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The FFPE tissues included 34 follicular adenomas, 10 Hürthle cell adenomas (HA), 6 hyperplastic nodules, 4 atypical adenomas, 44 classic papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC), 29 follicular variant of PTC, 23 follicular thyroid carcinomas, 17 Hürthle cell carcinomas (HC), and 3 anaplastic thyroid carcinomas. The FNA specimens included 55 follicular adenomas, 34 HA, 20 hyperplastic nodules, 8 Hashimoto thyroiditis, 32 PTC, 24 follicular variant of PTC, 30 follicular thyroid carcinomas, 21 HC, and 2 anaplastic thyroid carcinomas. HMGA2 mRNA levels were expressed as relative fold change after normalizing with a calibrator. HMGA2 expression in thyroid carcinomas (16.8-fold for FFPE and 18.2-fold for FNA) was significantly higher than in benign lesions (0.8-fold for FFPE and 0.8-fold for FNA). HMGA2 expression in HC was relatively low (1.8-fold for FFPE and 8.5-fold for FNA) compared with the other types of carcinomas. HMGA2 expression values of 4.5-fold and 5.9-fold were used as cutoff points for FFPE and FNA (excluding HA and HC), respectively, to separate benign and malignant thyroid tumors, with 97.5% clinical specificity and 79.8% sensitivity for FFPE, and 95.2% clinical specificity and 88.6% sensitivity for the FNA specimens. Conventional RT-PCR supported the qRT-PCR results. Detection of HMGA2 mRNA expression by qRT-PCR may be a useful tool to assist in the diagnosis of well-differentiated thyroid carcinomas. The 1-step qRT-PCR method is a sensitive, accurate, and reliable technique for gene expression analysis of thyroid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalDiagnostic Molecular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • HMGA2
  • quantitative RT-PCR
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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